August 5, 2011

Beach Grass 2 by Karl Eric LeitzelSince opening the Green Drake Gallery in Millheim in April, it's been hard to keep up with everything, including this web site. It's been great, though, finally having a home gallery. Time for painting had been limited, too, but I've finally been able to get out for some plein air painting this summer as well as some nice commissions in the studio. If you have a chance to visit us in downtown Millheim, along PA Rt. 45 right in the middle of Pennsylvania, please do!

Last week, Linda and I spent a great week on Cape Cod. It was our first visit there and we went whale watching, toured Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and otherwise explored the cape. I also got out painting several early mornings and evenings. Here is a piece I painted on a beach near Yarmouthport around 7:30 am.

By the way, I'm starting to do some teaching again at the Green Drake, including plein air classes. Check the website at


February 2, 2011

I've been remiss in adding journal entries because things have gotten so busy with getting the Green Drake Gallery and Arts Center up and running. We are now fully into renovations of the main gallery space on the first floor, with a spring opening planned. The studio and Arts Community spaces upstairs are already seeing use. We don't have a lot on the web site yet, but the URL is .
We're also on Facebook, where you'll find the most up-to-date progress reports. Just look up "Green Drake Gallery". Once the gallery is open, this will be the home gallery for me and the other resident artist, Elody Gyekis, and will also represent dozens of other artists and craftspeople. Crafts will be mostly regional, but fine art will be regional, national, and even international.


October 13, 2010

This summer and fall have had more than enough going on. I've had a number of outdoor arts festivals, including the Central PA Fest and New Hope, PA. I've also been getting quite a few commissions
to keep me busy. These have mainly been paintings of clients' homes or farms. Now that fall is here, I have all sorts of shows and events coming up that are listed on the "Events" page.

I'm also involved in an exciting project to open a large art gallery/arts center in nearby downtown Millheim. This will give me a much needed "home" gallery as well as the chance to bring the work of many other talented artists and craftsmen to central Pennsylvania. In addition, The Green Drake Gallery and Arts Center will feature artist studio spaces and a classroom studio with art lessons, and possibly some music lessons such as guitar, available. The Green Drake will be a place where art happens as well as being available for purchase. We hope to open the doors soon after the start of the new year.


February 24, 2010

Tapestry painting by Karl Eric LeitzelI just realized how long it's been since I've added to this journal. It was a good holiday season and I'm now busy putting together plans for 2010. I'll be adding a couple of new outdoor arts festivals and looking for some additional representation in other parts of the country. I'm painting a lot of new pieces right now, especially in my large format acrylic "Tapestries of Nature" series, one of which is shown here. I also have a Facebook page just for the Tapestries series, at . I hope you'll join as a fan.

I'm finally getting back to some teaching, which you can keep updated on by checking my "Events" page.




August 21, 2009

Unveiling of Change of Classes by Karl Eric LeitzelThe large commissioned painting for Penn State, "Change of Classes" is finished! The unveiling took place yesterday in the lobby of the Nittany Lion Inn, and the piece was very well received. Following the unveiling, I did a presentation at the reception explaining the process of creating the finished piece.
This included walking the audience through the day-to-day journal I kept while I worked on the painting.

I'm also involved in a project depicting the Beta House (Beta Rho Pi) on campus, with the gala reception set for August 30. During the same timeframe, I'll again be the Artist in Residence at the Centre County Grange Fair, so it'll be a very busy couple of weeks!


May 18, 2009

Artist retreat at Hameau Farm.I spent several
days last week at the annual spring artist retreat at Hameau Farm near Belleville, Pennsylvania. This retreat is hosted by Gay Rogers and coordinated by artist Susan Nicholas Gephart. Art instruction is provided by Susan along with Jim Farrah, AWS. It's always a great time of creative sharing and general comraderie among a group of artists that includes long-time participants and newcomers. The Friday evening reception was well attended, with a number of paintings purchased from the participating artists.




April 21, 2009

Grange Fair painting by Karl Eric LeitzelSeveral great developments to report. First, I've been selected by The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) as the commissioned artist to create a large new painting for prominent display in the lobby of the prestigious Nitt
any Lion Inn on the main campus at University Park. The Call for Entry was open to artists nationally and I'm honored to have been selected. The painting will measure approximately 3' by 4' and will depict the bustle and energy of class change time on campus. The committee was impressed with my Grange Fair work and this helped shape their decision regarding the subject matter for the piece. I hope to have the painting finished by late July.

"Red Hats in the Rain, Grange Fair" was juried into the PaintAmerica MiniTop50 and is on national tour. Also, "After Midnight, Grange Fair" was juried into the Art of the State exhibition at the PA State Museum in Harrisburg. This piece will be on display there June 28 - Sept. 30, after an opening reception on June 27. Both pieces are available for purchase through the respective organizations.


January 30, 2009

Grange Fair painting by Karl Eric LeitzelA couple of weeks ago I picked up representation with Gallery 30, an excellent gallery in the heart of historic Gettysburg, PA. Gallery 30 features an extensive selection of fine art, as well as top quality crafts, mostly from Pennsylvania artisans. They are located at 30 York Street, close to the square.

I just found out yesterday that my Grange Fair painting, Red Hats in the Rain, was selected as one of the top 50 for the national PaintAmerica Mini50 exhibition. These 50, as well as the 100 larger paintings chosen for the Top100, will be on tour nationally for the next year. The web site is

It's been a long, hard winter, but things are beginning to fall in place for this year. I'll probably be doing more outdoor shows and plein air events this year, so keep checking back for details. I'll look forward to seeing you somewhere along the line.



November 19, 2008

Art at 43rd Street Gallery - photoLast Friday was the opening reception for a large show of my work at the Gallery on 43rd Street in Pittsburgh. I had the opportunity to personally meet a number of people who have been purchasing my work at the gallery (photo at right).

I now have work at the Edward Dare Gallery in Historic Charleston, South Carolina. Most of these pieces are regional in nature. I'll soon be shipping additional pieces for the Sandpiper Gallery, a sister gallery on nearby Sullivan's Island. Links to these can be found on my "Galleries" page. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to continue painting this beautiful part of the country.

Otherwise, I've been painting additional Grange Fair pieces and am now ready to do some new non-project pieces I've been looking forward to starting. I'm also starting work on a new book illustrating venture, and generally battening down the hatches for the winter months. The state of the economy may make it a particularly challenging winter, so don't forget the artists in your community as you go about your holiday shopping.


September 10, 2008

Grange Fair painting by Karl Eric LeitzelMy jump to painting full time at the end of May has been going well. I'll soon be announcing at least one new major gallery, and commissions have been coming in steadily. In late August, I spent a week painting on site as the first ever Artist in Residence at the Centre County Grange Fair in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania. This large fair, complete with a "tent city" has been going on for 134 years, and offers unlimited visual images of traditional Americana. I painted more than a dozen pieces on site, most plein air, and had sold 5 by the end of the fair. These can be seen at

Visitors to the fair were enthralled by the site of a painter at his easel right in the midst of the bustling fair activities, and it gave me a unique opportunity to interact with people as I worked. I'll be finishing more pieces in the studio over the next month or so and will have a major show in late October or November. This will be announced here on the web site, but email if you want to be informed of the time and place. Chances are that I'll be continuing the project next August.


April 28, 2008

CDT article about Karl Eric LeitzelMy two brothers, Warren and Greg, and I have had a show up at the Elk Creek Cafe in Millheim, Pennsylvania since early April
. This is the first event showcasing the three of us together. The Centre Daily Times ran a very nice article, shown here as a thumbnail and enlargeable if you'd like to read it. The reception was very well attended and I still run into people all around the area who saw the story and responded vewry positively.

Well, it's official now- May 31 is my last day with Penn State University, as I move on to painting on a full time basis. Needless to say, I'm very excited about the changes and am putting lots of things into place for a busy and productive summer.



enlarge image (500K)



April 4, 2008

Robeson Center gallery- Art Alliance reception 2008I've been very busy the last few months, painting as much as possible and otherwise preparing for my imminent move to full time painting, probably at the end of May. Shows so far this year have been very successful, with several currently in progress. Last evening was the artists' reception for the Art Alliance of Central PA's Juried Show, at the Robeson Center Gallery on Penn State's main campus. My entry, Feed Wagon, won an honorable mention award in a filed that included many excellent pieces. I'm including a photo from the reception. The gallery is one of the nicest in central Pennsylvania.

This Sunday is the opening reception for my "Brothers in Art" show at the Elk Creek Cafe in Millheim, PA, in cooperation with my brothers Warren and Greg. Also coming up is the annual artists' retreat at Hameau Farm in Belleville, organized by artist and friend Susan Nicholas Gephart. I'll be there for several days this year, which should result in some new plein air work. The open house and reception on Friday evening, May 16, will be the first opportunity to see and purchase this new work. Email me for more details.


January 10, 2008

After a hectic holiday season, I'm finally getting some time to sit back and take stock. 2007 was a banner year for my fine art career, establishing new venues, expanding into some new creative directions with my painting, and making important new connections. Sales of work went very well, and it looks like I'll be able to make the leap this year into full time fine art, which will allow me to give much more time to both painting and the many important related activities.

Later this spring, I'll begin showing in the lovely Peter McPhee Gallery in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, which is near Cape May on the southern tip of the state.


September 17, 2007

Oil painting, Harrisburg, plein air, by Karl Eric LeitzelA week ago on Sunday, I spent the day with approximately 16 other central Pennsylvania artists painting in Harrisburg as part of the Friends of Midtown
, "Paint Midtown" annual event. Cityscape painting is something new for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed the change of pace, with all the texture, perspective, movement, and color that is inherent in city life. The pieces produced on Sunday will be featured at a reception in Harrisburg on the evening of September 21st.


"Corner Market" (plein air)   11" by 14" oil on panel



August 23, 2007

Golf course painting by Karl Eric LeitzelThe summer has been a whirlwind of activity, both professional and personal. The personal has mainly involved one daughter getting married last weekend and the other starting college this weekend. Both events involved a lot of planning and work, but will soon lead to a lighter schedule here at home. On the art front, I've been doing quite a few commissioned pieces in recent months, including a number of golf course pieces including the one shown here. Sales and connecting with new clients and opportunities have been going well. At Landscape Artists International
, we've successfully launched our new World Tour, with the second venue (in St. Augustine, Florida) set to open in early September. Hopefully, the beautiful autumn season will afford plenty of opportunities to paint.


April 30, 2007

I haven't been getting a lot of painting in, but have quite a few shows going on, as listed on the "Events" page. Both the American Impressionist Society juried exhibition, in Chicago, and the International Miniature Art Show in Nags Head, NC are opening this weekend, so I'm excited to see how these go on the national scene.


March 14, 2007

The winter has been busy with adding several new galleries, a couple of shows (including a very successful one with Farmland Preservation Artists in early February), and even some painting. I've been concentrating much of my painting lately on small studio studies of skies and landscapes. Yesterday I received notice that both pieces I submitted for the juried national show by the American Impressionist Society have been accepted. The show will be held at the prestigious Hilligoss Gallery in Chicago in May.


January 13, 2007

Still life by Karl Eric Leitzel- breadTaking stock of 2006, it was a very productive year for me as I worked on accelerating my return to fine art. This year, I'm looking to add gallery representation outside my local region. I also hope to have work accepted into a number of national shows as I work on building up a wider circle of clients.

Currently, I'm working on a couple of oils, and recently finished several small still life pieces, which are on display at the "Food for Thought" show at the Gamble Mill Restaurant in Bellefonte. These were fun to do, and I'll probably do more still lifes from time to time.


November 29, 2006

Recently, I've been completing quite a few small, 5" by 7" and 5" by 5" landscape miniatures, both plein air and in the studio. I find that I enjoy changing up periodically between large pieces and small ones. Each has a different feel and finished presence. The small studies let me play around with ideas and capture fleeting color and light in the field that a larger piece would not allow. I'm also doing some of them in acrylics, which I haven't used much in years. I'm finding that for small pieces, acrylics and oils each have their advantages, and that with slight adjustments in working technique, can achieve very similar results.

Landscape Artists International is growing rapidly, while maintaining a very high qulaity of artists. We just passed 150 members since starting in June.

I'm finally making plans to return to teaching art, on a limited basis while I still keep my day job. In May, Jennifer Kane and I will be instructing a two day Art Retreat at Mountain Acres Lodge here in central PA. Lodging and meals are included, and it should be a lot of fun for everyone. Details can be found at

Finally, you can now join in open conversation with me and other interested viewers at my blogspot at Please drop a note!


September 13, 2006

Back from a great weekend in Niagara Falls, Ontario, painting in the International Plein Air Painters' (IPAP) World Wide Paint Out. Thirty one artists gathered to paint, socialize, and interact with visitors to the falls. The whole experience, put together largely by IPAP founder and director Jacqui Baldini, was fun for all concerned, and a great way to share creative energy and network with other artists.

At the closing reception and awards ceremony, I was honored to receive a third place for my Quick Draw piece, an 8x10 looking up Clifton Hill into the heart of the "tourist" district. I also completed 4 pieces of the falls themselves, including a large, 24x30 of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. I have one piece uploaded so far, and will display the rest as soon as I can, on the plein air page.


Plein air painting by Karl Eric Leitzel.

My award-winning Quick Draw piece, nearly
finished and still on the easel.


August 2, 2006

Returned a week and a half ago from 10 wonderful days in New Mexico. My family and I were part of a 16-person team doing short-term Christian missions work with the Navajo in northwest New Mexico, south of Bloomfield. While there, I had the opportunity to teach basic landscape painting to teen and adult participants in a Vacation Bible School program, and also spent some time painting several small plein air pieces and taking lots of photos. I'll be adding some pieces to the site in the near future, and plan to have a major show titled "Navajo Skies" sometime in the fall. More info to follow.

photo album from trip


            Adult painting class



May 31, 2006

Our new organization, Landscape Artists International, went public this morning. We started with twelve charter members, representing seven countries. Four hours after announcing LAI and sending out a few invitations, 5 applications for new memberships have already come in. For anyone interested in seeing some outstanding landscape art from around the globe, I invite you to bookmark the web site,, and check back frequently.



May 17, 2006

Karl Leitzel painting en plein air at lehigh falls.
Last weekend, I spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning painting at the Lehigh Falls on the upper reaches of the Lehigh River in northeast Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains. I've been commissioned by the Wildlands Conservancy to paint a number of plein air pieces and at least one studio piece to commemorate this recent land preservation project. Many of the resulting pieces will be auctioned at their annual fund-raising dinner in November, and at least one will be reproduced as a limited-edition.

The falls and surroundings are beautiful, and a plein air painter's dream. I had never seen the falls before, and when I stepped out of the woods onto the rocks for the first time I literally had a wave of goosebumps run over me as I saw what I had to work with. The weather cooperated and I was able to complete a number of pieces. I'll have more about the project and resulting work at a later time.

Karl Leitzel painting on the easel at Lehigh Falls.Also, I've been working with a group of other artists from around the world to put together a new international organization dedicated to promoting landscape art and artists. We are set to go public June 1st. More on this later.






April 12, 2006

On Sunday afternoon and again yesterday morning, I was finally able to take advantage of the arrival of spring weather to get outside for some plein air painting. I painted from the same spot both days, looking southwest toward a farm located at the intersection of Ridge Road and Penns Cave Road in Gregg Township. The intensity of the plein air experience, trying to study, absorb, and transfer everything to the work on the easel in the brief time the changing light will allow, is always satisfying but exhausting. I did considerable additional work on the evening piece back in the studio, but intentionally worked faster and a bit looser on the morning piece and only added a couple of minor touches before I was satisfied with that one. The warmth of the sun and the sounds of birdsong made both pieces a joy to paint.



March 2, 2006

Just finished moving the website to I'll keep the highergroundwebdesign page as a redirect for a while. I've been painting a lot and have a couple of larger impressionistic pieces just about ready to put up on the site under "latest works". The weather hasn't been cooperative for painting plein air in this part of the world for a while, but we're into March now, so glorious spring painting weather can't be too far off.

January 26, 2006

I just finished a new page for the website detailing the process I used in completing a recent painting. I've always enjoyed sharing what I've discovered with others, and this seems like a great way to do so without having to charge money. Not that there's anything wrong with more formal instruction, but sharing free help and advice, whether it is with another painter or someone simply wanting to be able to better appreciate art, has a nice purity to it that I like. I expect to add similar entries in the future.

I'm hoping the weather will allow some plein air painting in the next few days. I'm itching to get outside.



January 9, 2006:

A Fresh Start

After nine years of hardly ever touching a paint brush, other than as required by the part-time sign work I still do, I suddenly find myself painting like crazy, as though years of built up energy are being released in a creative flood. It's not that I haven't wanted to paint again, but I knew that it wasn't yet the right time. First, I needed to recover from the burnout of spending several years in the early to mid-nineties trying to support my family solely with fine art, and only partially succeeding. The emotional and financial drain of that attempt took its toll on my creative energy. Eventually, I found a "real" job in the rapidly expanding field of computer graphics and Web design, and have been working for Penn State ever since. Then, I ran for a (volunteer) seat on our local school board and served for four years, two as board president, doing my best to support public education. That was quite a commitment of time and energy and, when a large tax hike doomed my attempt at reelection in the fall of 2005, I left the position with mixed emotions.

To my surprise, the freeing up of that time was the catalyst I needed to return to painting. In the past month since I again picked up a brush and restocked a few tubes of oil paints that had dried out in the interim, I've completed nearly ten paintings and have all kinds of ideas for the future. My wife, Linda, pitched in, too, getting me a beautiful French easel for Christmas.

I won't make the mistake, though, of quickly giving up my day job this time around. I'm better off stretching to make the time to paint than fashioning my art into a financial noose around my neck. If the time comes to step into painting full time again, that path will have made itself clear and undeniable. Meanwhile, expect frequent updates to this journal and the rest of the website.



Contact the artist at